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Al Qaeda: the terror machine that CIA built in its backyard

The “war on terror” propaganda is a deadly machine. The seeds of war that the US sowed came back to haunt America. It’s another thing that America refuses to own the Frankenstein that it created to further its own propaganda.

This disowning and consistent refusal on America’s part is understandable; nations have their secrets to keep, and home-bred terror machines are something no nation would own up, notwithstanding the super power status.

Osama bin Laden joined the war against the Soviet Union with aid from the US.

America’s secret intelligence agency CIA was instrumental in raising the Islamist terror monster al Qaeda within its yard. They bred and nursed Osama bin Laden’s zealous religious bigotry to gain their own means, unless one day, the monster grew so big and vicious that it bit off the head of its master.

During the Cold War era, America witnessed the world in simple black or white: on one side were the Soviet Union and its Third World allies, and on the other was America, Western nations and militant political Islam.

Osama bin Laden in military fatigues during the Afghan War.

Afghanistan was torn between many warlords, and the secular state was threatened. he US had provoked Soviet Union into getting into war in Afghanistan. The CIA knew the mission might harm their reputation once the war was over.

It started constructing evidence that the Soviet crisis was real deep, and presented a blown-up account of the Soviet’s military prowess to US President Ronald Reagan. The hogwash continued till the 90s.

However, playing on the factionalism of Afghanistan was not easy… They would not tolerate Western intrusion in their war against the Soviet union. The CIA figured out that the “outisiders” Afghan Arabs, who were totally anti-Soviet, were easier to connect and influence.

Osama bin Laden formed the al Qaeda in 1989.

The equation proved fruitful for the US. Bin Laden, along with a small group of Islamic militants from Egypt, Pakistan, Lebanon, Syria and Palestinian refugee camps, emerged as the “reliable” partners of the US  in its war against Moscow.

America lured the Soviet Union into the Afghanistan war. When Kabul was “invaded” by Moscow, the US used the pretext of “liberation” and backed the rebels with aid from the Saudi Royal family.


Osama bin Laden, the wealthy heir of a millionaire construction business family, left Saudi Arabia to fight the Soviet army in Afghanistan after Moscow’s invasion in 1979. By 1984, bin Laden had a small fleet of army, which he called Maktab al-Khidamar (MAK). MAK busied itself in scouting non-Afghan soldiers, besides providing funds and arms in the Afghan war.

With the end of the war, the rebels were stripped of any substantial “cause”. It was then that the enterprising bin Laden and his cronies started looking beyond the national boundary. As a result, al Qaeda, literally meaning “the base”, came into being in 1989.

Experts contest that al Qaeda was originally the computer database of the thousands of Islamist extremists, who were trained by the CIA and funded by the Saudis, in order to defeat the Russians. Allegedly, the CIA trained mujahiddins in the warfare: car bombing, assassination, guerrilla attacks, and the like, with which the world has been infested now.

Buoyed by the rich funds, the mujahiddins became highly motivated. Around the early 90s, al-Qaeda shifted continent, and moved to Sudan. It was slowly gaining mileage, and jihad was worryingly raising its head in certain parts of the world.

Osama bin Laden, the Afghan Arab, were trained by the CIA.

In 1996, the CIA and the British Foreign intelligence MI6 paid al Qaeda £100,000 to kill Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. A coup was planned, whereby the end of Gaddafi would mean the US could take over the African nation. As al Qaeda grew more muscles, it yet again shifted base to Afghanistan, but this time to forge close ties with their ilk: the Taliban.

America remained happily ignorant about the growing capabilities of the terror machine that it had developed in its backyard. They were startled out of their stupor when US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were blown by al Qaeda members in 1998. Enraged by the audacity, the US army ravaged the camps of al Qaeda in Afghanistan that killed hundreds in that poor country, including the jihadists.

An injured person is escorted out of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, on August 7, 1998. Simultaneous bombings killed at least 50 people near the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, seriously damaging both buildings.

The backlash came from al Qaeda in the form of the coordinated terror attacks in America that destroyed the Twin Towers, attacked the Pentagon, and killed thousands of Americans in 2001. The monster had unleashed the kind of terror that the world had never witnessed before.

And the ever-greedy US saw that it was the time to capitalise on the tragedy. In bin Laden they found their bogeyman, and the “threat” context that got them the chance to invade the already devastated Afghanistan!

About the author


Whether it’s women issues, politics or the paranormal, Rubi has an opinion on everything. Art and entertainment interest her, too. Hindu College alumni, she has written for The Hindustan Times and The Financial Express. Every now and then, she loves picking up her camera to capture life and its various shades.

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